Quoted: Bernie Sanders on Apple and America

“No, Apple is not destroying the fabric of America. But I do wish they’d be manufacturing some of their devices, here, in the United States rather than in China. And I do wish that they would not be trying to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.”

Bernie Sanders, U.S. senator and Democratic presidential hopeful, speaking to the New York Daily News editorial board last week.

Sanders is famously critical of corporate America. And his comment about Apple is similar to what Republican presidential candidate front-runner Donald Trump has said about the Silicon Valley giant. (“We’re going to get Apple to build their damn computers in this country instead of other countries.”)

Apple has heard it all before. CEO Tim Cook has defended both his company’s manufacturing practices and corporate tax citizenship on television (for example, on “60 Minutes”) and elsewhere, including in front of Congress. Cook and others have cited the global economy and China’s manufacturing prowess — Cook calls it “skill” while others call it cheap labor — as a part of the “reality” of why so many companies make their products in that part of the world.

Cook has also called accusations that the company doges taxes “total political crap.” He maintains that Apple pays its fair share, and that the U.S. tax code needs an overhaul. A study released in fall 2015 said Apple was holding $181 billion in profit offshore.

Meanwhile, others point out that Apple does make some of its products in the United States — including the Mac Pro, which is made in Austin — and that some parts, materials and equipment used to make its products are made in this country.  In December, Apple released a report touting its U.S. economic impact, saying that it has helped create nearly 2 million jobs, including because of its vast iOS ecosystem.

 

Photo: Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders during a town hall on MSNBC Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. (John Gurzinski/AFP/Getty Images)

 

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  • BirdMiler

    How many jobs has Bernie Sanders created while he’s criticizing Apple? We have got to get rid of these established politicians, they are killing our country with nonsense.

    • InconvenientTruthsYouHate

      Few to none. And better yet, how many companies has he owned? He has no idea why manufacturing jobs are leaving the US. It’s as much or more about the high cost of doing business in the US (complying with the US’s massive regulatory code for everything under the sun) as it is has to do with his assumed “tax evasion” rationale.

    • InconvenientTruthsYouHate

      Few to none. And better yet, how many companies has he owned? He has no idea why manufacturing jobs are leaving the US. It’s as much or more about the high cost of doing business in the US (complying with the US’s massive regulatory code for everything under the sun) as it is has to do with his assumed “tax evasion” rationale.

  • alrui

    If we had a flat tax (the ONLY way to tax fairly) companies and individuals wouldnt have to “avoid” burdensome taxation and the fed would actually have more $ to piss down the drain (which they seem to get pleasure from)!

  • althink

    Apple makes commodity electronic products (very nice ones) so there is no mystery why they are manufactured off-shore. Sen Sanders is tilting at windmills on that one. However Sen Sanders is absolutely correct that Apple should be paying more taxes in the U.S. Tim Cook is also correct that what Apple does is legal but I doubt it will be be legal much longer. As a trade-off for a lower, more competitive and fairer U.S. corporate rate it should not be.

    For a classic article on Apple’s “leading” tax-avoidance practices see: “Apple’s Move Keeps Profit Out of Reach of Taxes” at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/03/business/how-apple-and-other-corporations-move-profit-to-avoid-taxes.html?_r=0 .

    Europe is aggressively going after IP-heavy companies to pay taxes in proportion to the business they do. The U.S. Treasury should do the same. There is no mystery to this. The Feds only need to adopt rules already required by U.S. states. See: “Transfer Pricing As Tax Avoidance” at: http://www.forbes.com/2010/06/24/tax-finance-multinational-economics-opinions-columnists-lee-sheppard.html and “Apple, Amazon face further scrutiny on European taxes” at http://www.siliconbeat.com/2016/03/16/apple-amazon-face-further-scrutiny-on-european-taxes/?source=email . Google also has tax problems in Europe, see: “Google to pay $140 million in back taxes in Britain” at http://www.sacbee.com/latest-news/article56218025.html .

    When you look at effective U.S. tax rates by industry tech and pharmaceutical are typically low because they are IP-heavy. Retail, mining (btw including oil) are high because they cannot export their profits in the same way, to the same extent.

  • In addition to what Sen Sanders says it goes much further as the Panama Papers suggest. Tim Cook and Apple continue to use conflict minerals and slavery labor practices and suggest that by moving the operations off shore they can hide the funds they save.

    There is a connection with how corporate America is involved and Senators Sanders and Warren will uncover how it is done. Stay tune…the face of change in Corporate America is well underway.

  • In addition to what Sen Sanders says it goes much further as the Panama Papers suggest. Tim Cook and Apple continue to use conflict minerals and slavery labor practices and suggest that by moving the operations off shore they can hide the funds they save.

    There is a connection with how corporate America is involved and Senators Sanders and Warren will uncover how it is done. Stay tune…the face of change in Corporate America is well underway.

 
 
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